Did you know that the Mississippi River is the fourth-longest river in the world? It is also one of the essential waterways in the United States. Because it is so expansive, this river has been a source of inspiration for musicians for centuries. This blog post looks at the top 10 songs about the Mississippi River. So, whether you’re a country, blues, or rock music fan, there’s sure to be something here for you. Just sit back and enjoy hearing about some tunes featuring one of America’s most iconic landmarks.
1. ‘Mississippi River Blues’ by Jimmie Rodgers
“Oh, you Mississippi river with water so deep and wide
My thoughts of you keep rising just like an evening tide
I’m just like a seagull that’s left the sea
Oh, your muddy waters, they keep on calling me.”
Jimmie Rodgers is often considered the father of country music. This song is a perfect example of his signature style. “Mississippi River Blues” is a tale of a man struggling to make ends meet, turning to the river for solace. Rodger’s lyrics paint a picture of the river as a place of beauty and danger, making it plain to see why he found the river so inspiring.
2. ‘200 Feet Deep’ by Lasse Helner
“It’s the Mississippi river at its bended knee
The moon in the river keeps looking at me
The Mississippi river, 200 feet deep
Full moon on the river, and I can’t go to sleep.”
In this ballad, a riverboat captain takes his final voyage down the Mississippi, reflecting on all he’s seen and experienced on the river.
As he steers his boat into a storm, he knows he won’t make it back to shore. The song is a sad and beautiful tribute to the mighty river.
3. Big River by Johnny Cash
“Now I taught the weeping willow how to cry
And I showed the clouds how to cover up a clear blue sky;
And the tears that I cried for that woman are gonna flood you, Big River;
And I’m gonna sit right here until I die.“
Johnny Cash is one of the most iconic country musicians of all time, and this song is one of his most famous. ‘Big River‘ tells the story of a man trying to make his way down the Mississippi River. Cash’s deep, gravelly voice is the perfect fit for this song, and it’s easy to see why it’s become one of his most memorable performances.
4. ‘Ol’ Man River’ by Paul Robeson
“Ol’ man river, that old man river
He don’t say nothin’, but he must know somethin’
He just keeps rollin’, he keeps on rollin’ along.“
Written for the 1927 musical ‘Show Boat,’ this song has been covered by many artists over the years, but Paul Robeson’s version is arguably the most famous. The song tells the story of a Black worker on the Mississippi River and his struggles to make a living. Robeson’s powerful voice certainly does this song justice.
5. ‘The Mississippi Squirrel Revival’ by Ray Stevens
“Well, when I was a kid, I’d take a trip
Every summer, down to Mississippi
To visit my granny in her antebellum world
I’d run barefooted all day long.”
Songs about the Mississippi River include this hilarious song by comedian Ray Stevens, which is a nod to the mighty Mississippi River. And in his nod to the river, you hear the story of a small town that is turned upside down by a squirrel that starts preaching at their local church — both funny and catchy.
6. ‘Down by the Riverside’
Another one of the famous songs about the Mississippi River includes the African-American spiritual “Down by the Riverside.”
“I’m gonna lay down my heavy load
Down by the riverside
Down by the riverside
Down by the riverside”
This classic spiritual ‘Down by the Riverside‘ was written about the Mississippi River. It’s been covered by many artists over the years. The song is a call to arms for slaves struggling to escape to freedom. It’s inspirational and powerful and is easily one of the most iconic songs about the river.
7. ‘High Water Everywhere’ by Charley Patton
“So high the water was risin’ our men sinkin’ down
Man, the water was risin’ at places all around
Boy, they’s all around
It was fifty men and children come to sink and drown.”
This classic Delta blues song was written about the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927. The lyrics tell the story of a man struggling to survive in the face of disaster. So, the song is dark but powerful, but paints a graphic picture of the horrors faced during this time.
8. ‘Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man’ by Loretta Lynn & Conway Twitty
“Louisiana woman, Mississippi man
We’ll get together every time we can
The Mississippi River can’t keep us apart
There’s too much love in this Mississippi heart
Too much love in this Louisiana heart.“
This classic country duet sung by Loretta Lynn and Conway Twitty was written about the love between a man and a woman from different states. It has a sweet and catchy tune that will have you singing along every time.
9. ‘Watching the River Flow’ by Leon Russell
One of the best songs about the Mississippi River includes this iconic one by Leon Russell:
“Ole man river keeps on rolling
No matter what gets in the way and which way the wind does blow
As long as it’s like that, I’m just gonna sit right here
And watch the river flow.”
Legendary musician Leon Russell wrote this classic song. With its poignant and powerful lyrics, this song tells the story of a man struggling to find his place in the world. The Mississippi River represents an anchor in a life of uncertainty.
10. ‘Fishin’ on the Mississippi’ by Buck Owens
“Well, I’m fishin’ in the middle of the Mississippi river
And the water’s too muddy to drink
Big catfish bitin’ on the little pole, and my baby’s waitin’ on the bank
Well, you tried to make a livin’ on the Mississippi river it’s a mighty hard life to live.”
Buck Owens wrote this old classic country song. It is a heart-warming, catchy tale of a man trying to make a living as a fisherman on the Mississippi River. And, despite his many fishing struggles, he still said, “But I’d rather go a fishin’ on the Mississippi river than livin’ in a cold, cold ground.”
Summary of the Top 10 Songs About the Mississippi River
Here’s a recap of the 10 songs inspired by and about the Mississippi River we took a look at:
|1||Mississippi River Blues||Jimmie Rodgers|
|2||200 Feet Deep||Lasse Helner|
|3||Big River||Johnny Cash|
|4||Ol’ Man River||Paul Robeson|
|5||The Mississippi Squirrel Revival||Ray Stevens|
|6||Down by the Riverside||Unknown|
|7||High Water Everywhere||Charley Patton|
|8||Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man||Loretta Lynn & Conway Twitty|
|9||Watching the River Flow||Leon Russell|
|10||Fishin’ on the Mississippi||Buck Owens|
The photo featured at the top of this post is © RaksyBH/Shutterstock.com
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